May 9, 2016

The Antitrust Week In Review

Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

Cigna Says Anthem Deal Could Close in 2017; Anthem Sticks to 2016.  Health insurer Cigna Corp, which announced plans to be bought by larger Anthem Inc 10 months ago, on Friday said the deal may close in 2017 rather than 2016 due to the complexity of the regulatory process, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The U.S. Department of Justice is currently reviewing the Cigna-Anthem deal, which raises serious antitrust issues given that it would create the nation’s largest health insurer.

Halliburton and Baker Hughes Call Off $35 Billion Merger.  For a year and a half, Halliburton and Baker Hughes, two big oil field services companies, had been focused on their $35 billion merger.  That distraction, even as commodity prices deteriorated and their peers cut costs to survive, is finally over.  The two companies announced that they would terminate the merger after an excruciatingly long regulatory review process that culminated in a lawsuit last month by the Justice Department to block the deal on antitrust grounds.

Bankers Say U.S. Antitrust Concerns Weigh on Deal Activity.  Antitrust concerns are preventing corporations from pursuing mergers more than other broad regulatory or economic issues, several senior investment bankers said during a panel on Tuesday at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference.  “It’s that increasingly high bar that we’re seeing from an anti-trust perspective,” said Paul Stefanick, Deutsche Bank AG’s head of corporate and investment banking in the Americas.  Stefanick said doubts about whether deals can pass muster with antitrust regulators are a bigger barrier to deals than uncertainties like the outcome of November’s U.S. election.

FCC Confirms Approval of Charter, Time Warner Cable Merger.  The U.S. Federal Communications Commission confirmed on Friday that it had voted to approve Charter Communications Inc’s acquisitions of Time Warner Cable Inc and Bright House Networks.  The deals, which would create the second-largest U.S. broadband provider and third-largest video provider, now need approval from regulators in California.

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Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, General

    January 4, 2016

    The Antitrust Week In Review

    Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following:

    RadioShack Antitrust Lawsuit: Sony, Samsung, Toshiba And Others Accused Of Illegal Price-Fixing Conspiracy.  The liquidation trustee for the former retail giant RadioShack is accusing five of the world’s largest consumer electronics companies of illegally conspiring to create an intricate price-fixing scheme that artificially inflated the cost of optical disk drives, a common component present in many devices, computers and appliances.  In a federal antitrust lawsuit filed Wednesday in Northern California, the trustee accused Sony Corporation, Toshiba Corporation, Samsung, Philips Electronics and Light-On IT Corp. of participating in a “six-year price-fixing conspiracy,” which allegedly took place from January 2004 until at least January 2010.

    Dow and DuPont will merge in a $130-billion megadeal, then split 3 ways.  Industrial giants Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. said Friday that they had agreed to merge and form a chemicals and agricultural powerhouse valued at $130 billion.  After the all-stock merger, the new company — to be called DowDuPont —plans to split again into three publicly traded companies, with one focused on agriculture, another on materials and plastics and a third on specialty products.  Given the proposed new company’s size, the deal is expected to receive antitrust scrutiny.

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    Categories: Antitrust and Price Fixing, General

      September 21, 2015

      The Antitrust Week In Review

      Justice department seeks more information on Aetna, Humana deal.  The U.S. Department of Justice is asking health insurer Aetna Inc. for more information about its pending $37 billion acquisition of Humana Inc.  The Justice Department’s “second request” will delay by 30 days the expiration of the waiting period under the Hart–Scott–Rodino antitrust act, Aetna said in a regulatory filing.  Aetna’s offer to buy Humana and rival health insurer Anthem Inc.’s $48 billion offer for Cigna Inc. are expected to face close scrutiny from regulators due to concerns that the two deals could lead to higher insurance prices.

      Antitrust Nod for Expedia to Buy Orbitz.  The Justice Department will not try to block the acquisition of travel booking site Orbitz by its larger rival Expedia, clearing the way for the companies to complete their $1.3 billion merger.  Hotel companies, along with some consumer advocates and lawmakers, have raised concerns over the potential market power of the combined company, which would control about 75 percent of the domestic market for third-party online booking.  However, the Justice Department’s antitrust enforcers concluded that the acquisition is unlikely to harm competition and consumers.

      Petco begins merger talks with PetSmart – sources.  Petco Holdings Inc. is exploring the possibility of being acquired by PetSmart Inc., according to sources.  Such a merger could result in a company with some 30 percent of U.S. pet specialty supplies stores.

      GE among bidders for Halliburton’s assets: Bloomberg.  General Electric Co. is bidding for pieces of Halliburton Co.’s drilling services and drilling bits businesses, as the latter seeks regulatory approval to buy Baker Hughes Inc., according to Bloomberg.  U.S. antitrust enforcers are concerned that the proposed $35 billion deal for Halliburton to acquire smaller rival Baker Hughes would lead to higher prices and less innovation in the oilfield services industry.

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      Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, General

        September 8, 2015

        The Antitrust Week In Review

        Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

        U.S. judge approves $415 million settlement in tech worker lawsuit.  U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh has granted final approval to a $415 million settlement of the high profile antitrust class action in which workers accused Apple, Google and two other Silicon Valley companies of conspiring to hold down salaries.  The plaintiffs alleged that Apple, Google, Intel Corp and Adobe Systems conspired to avoid poaching each other’s employees, thus limiting job mobility and, as a result, keeping a lid on salaries.

        Google Antitrust Inquiries Spread Over Globe, With India the Latest Problem.  Google is now coming under antitrust scrutiny in India.  After a three-year investigation, the Competition Commission of India, India’s antitrust authority, has reportedly sent Google a report expressing concern (similar to European complaints) that Google is abusing its dominant position in search and online advertising by ranking its own services ahead of those of competitors.

        German carmakers win US antitrust approval to buy Nokia maps.  German carmakers BMW, Audi and Mercedes have won U.S. antitrust approval to buy Nokia’s maps business for around 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion), according to the Federal Trade Commission.  Germany’s three premium carmakers will hold equal stakes in the business, known as HERE, and may allow automakers to offer new premium features, like autonomous driving, in luxury cars, shaking up the pecking order between car makers, their parts suppliers and software rivals like Uber and Google.

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        Categories: Antitrust Litigation, General, International Competition Issues

          August 3, 2015

          The Antitrust Week In Review

          Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.

          Two major hospital systems might be merging.  Continuing the trend in healthcare-provider consolidation, Providence Health & Services and St. Joseph Health announced Friday that they had signed a letter of intent to merge. The health systems cautioned that they were only in the “very early stages” of negotiations. If consummated, the merger would bring hospitals in California, Oregon, Texas, and several other states under common ownership. Antitrust enforcers have stated that they will analyze health-insurer consolidation industry-wide and not just deal-by-deal. The question is what effect will provider consolidation have on that analysis, and vice versa.

           

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          Categories: General

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